The ARA was identified for possible intervention as part of GDC’s 10% community engagement initiative in July 2009 and required students to address a very specific set of client requirements. The students organized themselves into four small multi disciplinary groups made up of 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students from the graphic design, multi media design and interior design departments. Each group’s working process was coordinated by a 3rdyear project manager. Two lecturers (Paul Cooper and Ann-Marie Tully) co-facilitated the teaching and learning process with specific input from members of the ARA. These sessions took the form of group crits where the intension was to enact a sharing process in which students were encouraged to interact not only with each other but with the lecturers as well as with their clients on a progressive and developmental but critical level. As clients, the ARA was an integral part of these conversations at various points in the four week leaning period.
As a community engagement initiative the project was immensely successful. The ARA was delighted with the products presented to them. More importantly, the students gleaned an enormous amount of knowledge and experience from working closely with peers from different levels and disciplines with in the college. Part of the effectiveness of this outcome came about through students resolving sometimes difficult problems when faced with the reality of a live project. We feel that the project’s success was a direct product of the enthusiasm and commitment of students determined to address their client’s needs. Additionally, the leadership and skilled guidance of the 3rd year project managers contributed significantly to a positive and rewarding learning experience.
Who was the community:
At the beginning of 2007, in an unprecedented and historic move to advance a common mission, three of the most effective animal protection organisations in South Africa: Justice for Animals (established in 1987), Xwe African Wild Life (established in 2001) and South Africans for the Abolition of Vivisection (established in 1992) took the decision to join forces by pooling their resources, expertise and commitment and to operate as one legal entity. The result is the emergence of Animal Rights Africa (ARA). ARA is the only organisation of its kind on the African continent, ushering in a brand new era of strengthened activism for animals.
ARA is committed to the promotion of inclusive justice, showing compassion across species and building a better future in a post Apartheid South Africa and a number of other African countries through research, analysis, programmes of action and targeted interventions. It is self-consciously located in post-TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) South Africa of renewal and reconciliation, where our experience of prejudice, discrimination and violence enables us to empathise with the suffering of other species.
What was the design problem:
The following objectives direct the Trust’s activities:
Reduce levels of animal exploitation and oppression.
- Contribute to the creation of a kinder and more compassionate society.
- Enhance civil society, corporate and government understanding and awareness of the commonalities of oppression and inclusive justice.
- Contribute to the development of democracy in South Africa.
- Serve as a monitoring and watchdog organisation.
- Undertake public policy work in South Africa, within SADC and at the African Union.
- Lobby for transparency, accountability and access to information.
- Promote and expand Pan-African and international cooperative and collaborative efforts by networking, pooling information, sharing resources, building dialogue through constructive and creative engagement. The following objectives direct the organisation’s activities:
What was the design solution:
Work was focused around four main areas. These included revamping the ARA website home page with a view to introducing a user friendly and navigable process in various pull down menus and links as well as redesigning the look and feel of the website by introducing a more visually dynamic and relevant output. The ARA also required a power point template into which they could conveniently insert necessary content. Two power points templates were designed: one with a look and feel suited to a corporate audience and the other designed for an educational purpose pitched at young children. Additionally, two of the student groups addressed the ARA’s advertising requirements by designing posters, distribution pamphlets and a range of other adverting and promotional material.